Great quote from Bertrand Russell


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Miss Rand wrote some scorchingly bad stuff about Bertrand. Probably his politics, maybe his metaphysics.

I'll tell you what, though, all that being said. Two good things among his many.

1. Why I Am Not a Christian Just worth the read.

2. Hit a used bookstore and snag a copy of A History of Western Philosophy Now, I have had varying opinions on this book from Objectivist-based folk, and they were predominantly negative for one reason or another; a posture I find kind of sniffy. But, the bottom line is it is a fabulous tome, very big, very comprehensive, and you can likely pick up a hardcover for about 5 bucks- I did.

Best,

rde

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I remember only one passage about Russell in Rand's work (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology), probably while it was so incredibly stupid:

As an illustration, observe what Bertrand Russell was able to perpetrate because people thought they "kinda knew" the meaning of the concept of "number" -

That's all, just some obscure hint that Russell was able to perpetrate something horrible "because people thought they kinda knew the meaning of the concept of 'number'". No explanation at all, suggesting that Rand's dismissal is sufficient proof, and that in a book about philosophy! I've more to say about that, but that must wait until later, I'm too busy now. I just had to vent...

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Yeah, Dragonfly, there's that one.

I think there might be more elsewhere, but I don't have it in hand right now. Like you, I just remember something that was pretty lame.

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Rand had the gift of writing things that can piss you off even when you agree with her. Russell had the gift of writing things you enjoy even when you disagree. Both are valuable, but I'd have been amazed if they got along.

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Szatyor,

This quote has been haunting me. I see the connection between this and crowd psychology only too clearly - and war is impossible without crowd psychology. Character assassination is impossible without crowd psychology.

The call to think - even if you get people to disagree with you, but they use their own individual mental powers - is a highly noble calling.

An individual's ego - that thing that leads him to question things, even Rand if he is an Objectivist, or even God if he is religious, is his most precious asset. If he uses reason, he will be OK in the end.

Thank you for posting that.

Michael

Edit: "Szatyor" was the name Tibor initially used on OL.

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"Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do." Bertrand Russell (From THE WEEK, 4-22-06, p. 21)

I love Bertrand Russell. He's got a lot to be admired for.

"There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal, as human beings, to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death." --Bertrand Russell

Also, if I could do something like this in my lifetime, I'd be very proud of myself. So, no, I'm not going to knock Bertrand Russell for anything if I have yet to equal him in my own theories, promoting progress, promoting happiness, promoting knowledge, and promoting wisdom. I may not agree with every ounce of his prolific work, but he went out and produced and stood up for thought, knowledge, and wisdom and tried to live his life the best he could.

Miss Rand had her opinions; I have mine. If I had to have her opinions, I'd be her clone. And I am finding out that while she was wise in some ways, she did not expressly promote wisdom itself (with what I've read so far).

I've also decided not to read ITOE. It frustrates me intellectually because I find much of it lacking specific scientific support and citation, therefore making it vague. And frankly, I find it even more frustrating that people just swallow what she wrote without fact checking; not to mention quote it to me like I'll just take it face value too. My own field of cognitive/psych. neuroscience, as well as my studies into linguistics, cover all of what ITOE covers and then some. I'm a hard sell. :)

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Jenna, if you are (and if you're here, you probably are) into Rand/O'ism on a significant level, I recommend reading ITOE.

I get where you're coming from. But, it's a worthwhile read just to get it right off her pen. She was rolling out what was for all practical purposes a very new thing, so it is not going to be heavily weighted with sources, etc.

Just good to get it off the cuff like that. I read it twice, years ago- there are likely questions that will raise in your mind, and that's OK.

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I've only read a couple scattered pieces of ITOE (Oist concept formation - was natural for anyone familiar with object oriented programming :) ), but was intending to pick it to read in entirety at some point. Are you saying it's frustrating because even if valid, it lacks footnotes and bibliography so isn't a scholarly work? Or that you've even encountered specifics in it that are likely invalid since at odds with psych/neurosci?

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Dragonfly,

There was a fair amount of discussion, back in the SOLOHQ days, of Rand's slam at Bertrand Russell in ITOE.

See the thread on Rand's willingness to resort to the "argument from intimidation," starting here:

http://rebirthofreason.com/Forum/GeneralFo...um/0672.shtml#0

Several SOLOHQ participants made significant contributions to that discussion, including Peter Reidy, Merlin Jetton, Steve Shmurak, and Bill Dwyer.

Robert Campbell

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Jenna,

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is worth reading in conjunction with articles and books on psychology, linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and so on.

Don't let yourself be put off by the attitudes of those who have read only ITOE, and imagine that their mighty feat has given them a lifelong exemption from reading anything else in the vicinity.

Robert Campbell

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Aaron,

Are you familiar with Adam Reed's article on "Object-oriented programming and Objectivist epistemology: Parallels and implications"?

It ran in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Volume 4, number 2 (Spring 2003), pp. 251-284.

Robert Campbell

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Robert, I see that I don't need to elaborate on that quote as an example of an argument from intimidation by Rand and give other examples as well, you did that already very well. The replies by Valliant also speak volumes about his attitude about Rand as someone who couldn't do anything wrong. This example is so blatant (like that remark about Emerson for example) that you really must be blind not to see it.

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Actually, I have nothing against the ARI. I go on an individual by individual basis. If it happens that a large number of individuals that I disagree with (I'm fine with disagreement) and who "morally denounce" me for it are also all on one organization's staff or support (which has not happened to me personally), then I'll know to stay away. But 'til then... I've also heard that people who buy from or go to ARI conferences, as well as TOC, as well as humanist or libertarian or skeptic functions (sometimes all of them), are nice, respectful folks.

The many things I most agree with in terms of Rand are her general ethics, her use of philosophy as a guideline, and her support of individualism.

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